Phil Colpas

Extracting meaning from meaningful use

In this, our July 2010 issue, Health Management Technology proudly presents a special exclusive supplement containing insights from the 2010 Medical Strategic Planning (MSP)/Andrew EMR Benchmark. More than 700 electronic medical records developers and resellers were invited to participate in this survey, which, in conjunction with a 2009 book, “Successfully Choosing Your EMR: 15 Crucial Decisions,” and an online EMR selector, provides a powerful tool to aid healthcare professionals in making the conversion from paper-based to electronic medical records.

According to MSP founder Arthur Gasch, “MSP is, in sum, the host of the broadest repository on EMR information available on U.S. EMR developers,” he says. “We have tools to compare EMRs and to assist and guide EMR consultants and physicians through the entire 118-step, 15-month process of planning for and implementing an EMR.”

“Meaningful use” was introduced in February 2009 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) as a precondition for receiving reimbursement by physicians who adopted EMRs. The term was not officially defined until January 2010, in a 220-page document authored by the Department of Health and Human Services.

As we are all now painfully aware, this definition generated a great deal of rancor from both EMR developers and those planning to adopt an EMR system; many felt the convoluted and far-reaching nature of what constitutes meaningful use is likely to hamper, not help, conversion to electronic medical records. The supplement in this issue of HMT deals specifically with how meaningful use has impacted EMR developers.

Future issue follow-ups from MSP will deal with such topics as HIPAA compliance, pros and cons of regional extension centers and work-flow analysis, all culled from the company's impressive database of information from EMR vendors and resellers across the country. We look forward to a continuing relationship with Gasch and Bill Andrew, executive vice president of MSP, and are pleased they will be sharing their vast knowledge with HMT's readers. (For more on their experience and impressive background in healthcare IT, see the sidebar in the special supplement.)

Also in this issue, we present a roundup on health information exchanges (HIEs), with valuable information provided by 14 HIE vendors and end-users; two case studies on picture-archiving communications systems (PACS); a case study on revenue cycle management (RCM); an article on network infrastructure; a “Thought Leaders” piece on the value of retaining unstructured patient narratives in electronic health records; new products and services; and pioneers in healthcare IT.

So, as we begin the second half of 2010, we wish you happy reading and, as always, good healthcare IT.


The Source for Healthcare Information Systems Solutions